Modern Selling: How to Maximize the Sales Manager Role

June 7, 2023
Four ways to take an active role in helping salespeople close more deals

This article originally appeared in the June 2023 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter.

One of the most underutilized resources in the security industry is the sales manager. While most of them have been relegated to spreadsheet masters or have a handful of their own accounts on which they focus most of their time, a sales manager who helps their salespeople close sales can be a force multiplier to a team’s success.

Here are four ways that sales managers can help their salespeople to close more sales:

1. Get in the field and work with salespeople on their opportunities.

Gartner performed a massive research project about 15 years ago, with the desire to understand what great sales leaders did on a regular basis. The most common activity among high-performing sales managers was that they rode in the field and worked on deals with their salespeople. Three positive things happen from this activity:

  • Whether you are an expert closer or not, having two people working on a deal significantly increases the chances of victory.
  • By working on real projects, the sales manager will stay fresh on ever-changing buying patterns and technology. There are many sales managers in our industry who haven’t worked directly on winning an opportunity in more than a decade. Their methods and ideas are outdated.
  • The more sales managers work with them, the more salespeople will learn and the better they will be at closing sales on their own.

2. Hold salespeople accountable to small but important things.

I do weight training twice a week, and there is a noticeable decrease in my left shoulder’s bursitis when I ice it the night before. It never fails. If I ice it, I’m ok. If I don’t, then I’ve got a few days of pain, ibuprofen, and even more ice. Guess what? I only ice it about half the time. I simply forget or don’t think it’s that important at the time.

There are many small exercises throughout the selling journey that have huge impacts on the purchasing decision. No matter how obvious they are, your salespeople will not do these exercises most of the time because they seem minor at the time – unless you hold them accountable throughout the whole process, which means from the first discovery call to the decision and everything in between.

3. Meet the big boss and form a peer-to-peer relationship.

There aren’t many sales closing tools more powerful than asking the boss to give the prospect’s boss a call. Unfortunately, this idea is usually needed after it is too late to build that relationship. The relationship doesn’t have to be complex. Follow these simple guidelines:

  • Introduce yourself to the big boss as soon as possible during the buying process. Give them your contact information, ask for theirs, and then say the magic words: “Call me if you need anything during this process. We want to win your business.”
  • Drop them a call or email at a random and unexpected time simply asking if they need anything.
  • If your salesperson is dealing with a stalled project or can’t get a response, reach out directly to the big boss, peer to peer.

4. Focus on high-probability opportunities.

As you move into the last week of a month, don’t try to close every opportunity listed in the pipeline. Identify the high-probability projects and focus on only them. Create a separate, written list outside of the CRM and make sure the team knows the list (it will be a short list, but that is ok). Focus all your efforts on bringing in the projects that should close. There can be exceptions to this rule – for example, a very large opportunity that isn’t the highest probability might merit your attention, but that decision should be vetted. The goal is to focus on the highest yield of your time.

Chris Peterson is the founder and president of Vector Firm (, a sales consulting and training company built specifically for the security industry. Use "Security Business" as a coupon code to receive a 10% lifetime discount at To request more info about the company, visit